Headlines for Wednesday, December 14, 2011
- Length: 5:10 minutes (2.36 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)
Indonesian mine strike ends with wage increase
Striking workers at the Freeport McMoran Mine have reached an agreement with mine owners, after three months of protests and violence around the mine site. A union leader told the AP that the company has agreed to a 37% wage increase over two years. The company will also increase benefits. Freeport is an Arizona-based company. Nine people were killed during the strike, and many blame part of the violence on Indonesian security forces being paid off by the mining company.
South Korean “Comfort Women” mark 1000 weeks of protest
The surviving South Korean victims of forced prostitution during the Second World War marked a milestone today. They held their 1000th protest calling on Japan for an official apology. FSRN Reporter Jason Strother in Seoul says the issue of these victims, known euphemistically as comfort women, remains a major sticking point in Korea-Japan relations.
For the past 1000 Wednesdays, women who were forced to work in frontline brothels and their supporters have protested in front of the Japanese embassy here. They say Japan has not sufficiently apologized for what they call a crime against humanity. They’re also demanding compensation. South Korea says 200-thousand of these women were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military when Tokyo ruled the Korean peninsula during the early 20th century. Today, only 63 of them survive, five of whom joined the landmark protest. Demonstrators unveiled a statue of a young woman dressed in traditional clothing in from of the embassy. Tokyo had asked the South Korean government to prevent its erection, but Seoul’s Foreign Ministry says they would not interfere. Japan admits that its military did conscript these women to work as prostitutes, but says all compensation was dealt with back in the 1960s. Activists say vigils in eight other countries, including Japan, were also held today in honor of these women. Jason Strother, FSRN, Seoul.
UNESCO struggles to make up lost US funds
The Palestinian Authority officially raised its flag at UNESCO headquarters on Tuesday, marking its landmark admission to the cultural and heritage organization as a member state. The PA has been pushing for full UN statehood recognition, and their admission into UNESCO over the wishes of the US has caused several ripples. The US cut funds to the organization - $80 million, a 22% budget hit. At a press conference today at the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon tried to separate the two issues.
“I support their aspiration to be admitted into the United Nations and to be able to work in other international [unintelligible] as a full member. Within the context of a 2-state vision, where Palestinians and Israel can live together side by side in peace and security. Then the funding gap, which has been caused by the US cutting its funding over the case of admission into UNESCO, that is another matter.”
Ban says he has been working with world leaders to try to make up for the shortfall. UNESCO spokesperson Susan Williams says so far Indonesia, Gabon and Timor-Leste have pledged a total of nearly 15 million additional dollars.
Armed rebels attack Senegalese army outpost in continuation of independence struggle
An attack on a Senegalese army outpost is the latest flare-up in a long-running independence struggle in the southern part of the country. This comes after the killing of 11 villagers in late November, a crime allegedly committed by armed rebels. For FSRN, Alpha Jallow has more.
One hundred heavily armed men attacked a military cantonment early Tuesday leaving three people dead and several dozens injured. Local Senegal radio reports the men are believed to be members of the separatists Movement for Democratic Forces of the Casamance. Nearly twenty infantry soldiers are still missing. The attackers looted the outpost and stole two military vehicles. The Information Director for the Military is disputing the number of people killed during the attack. He said the army is actively pursuing the rebels. Since the brutal killing last month of eleven villagers, allegedly by rebels, the MFDC is not on the best of terms with the military. The MFDC’s campaign for self-determination and natural resource control has been ongoing for 30 years. Alpha Jallow, FSRN, Dakar, Senegal.
AG Holder vows to fight voter suppression efforts
In a major speech yesterday in Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department is working to ensure several new - and largely Republican-pushed - state laws do not infringe upon peoples’ rights under the Voting Rights Act. He said people should speak out and “call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success.” Today Senators Ben Cardin and Charles Schumer introduced a new bill designed to discourage and penalize those who release deceptive voting information and campaign literature.